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In re A.A.E.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

April 10, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF A.A.E. AND J.O.E., CHILDREN

          On Appeal from the 469th Judicial District Court Collin County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 469-53528-2014

          Before Justices Bridges, Partida-Kipness, and Carlyle

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DAVID L. BRIDGES JUSTICE

         Mother appeals the trial court's final divorce decree in which the court designated Father as primary managing conservator. In three issues, she argues she received ineffective assistance of counsel, and the evidence is legally insufficient to support his designation as primary managing conservator and to require her to have supervised visits with the children. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Background

         The following facts are based on the few pleadings in the record and one trial court hearing in which only Mother and Father testified.

         Father met Mother while working in Nigeria. The two married in 1996 and moved back to the United States. They had three sons: JKE, JOE, and AAE.[1]

         In early 2014, Mother spent approximately six months in Nigeria for family matters and returned in July. In December 2014, the "incident," which Mother claims started "this," occurred. According to Mother, when she returned to the States, she discovered JOE and AAE had been suspended from school. Father was drinking heavily during this time and acting aggressively towards her and the boys. She called the children's doctor, who recommended psychological testing for the children and family counseling. She claimed that on the way to an appointment, Father told AAE to beat her, which he did. She testified that when they later returned home, Father and AAE continued to beat her. She eventually called 9-1-1 and was taken to the hospital.

         Father denied Mother's version of events and testified, "The police determined that she was - - needed to be arrested that night." Officers did in fact arrest Mother for domestic violence after the hospital discharged her.

         On July 17, 2014, "after a post arrest hearing as provided by law, and after considering the evidence," a magistrate entered an order for emergency protection to protect Father from Mother. On July 22, 2014, Father filed his original petition for divorce. He argued appointment of the parents as joint managing conservators would not be in the best interest of the children because Mother had a history of committing family violence. Attached to the petition, Father included the July 17, 2014 order for emergency protection issued against Mother for committing family violence.

         Mother filed her original answer on October 16, 2014. She requested joint managing conservatorship and the exclusive right to designate the children's primary residence and receive child support.

         On January 30, 2015, the trial court signed temporary orders appointing Father as temporary sole managing conservator and Mother as temporary possessory conservator of the children. On August 19, 2016, the trial court signed a second temporary order in which Father remained temporary sole managing conservator and Mother continued as temporary possessory conservator. The order required supervised visitation because of "credible evidence that [Mother] has a history or pattern of child neglect directed against the children." It further ordered Mother to undergo a psychiatric evaluation within thirty days of the order and file the evaluation with the trial court on or before October 1, 2016. Mother never completed her court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

         The trial court held a final hearing on May 2, 2017. The trial court signed a final divorce decree on January 29, 2018, appointing Father as sole managing conservator and Mother as possessory conservator with supervised visitation. The final decree incorporated the terms of the second temporary order in which the court ordered Mother to undergo psychological evaluation. Mother, appearing pro se, filed this appeal.

         Sufficiency ...


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